Vail Daily column: Salvation Army finds increasing demand for help | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Salvation Army finds increasing demand for help

Tsu Wolin-Brown
My Echo Story
Vail, CO Colorado

Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: This column, submitted by Vail Resorts, showcases the nonprofits that the company supports through its Vail Resorts Echo program.

EAGLE COUNTY – The days in which the Vail Valley Salvation Army served only a select few in our community are long gone. In fact, since the recession hit four years ago, we have seen more and more middle class community members ask for assistance. Here’s proof: In 2008, the Vail Valley Salvation Army food pantry saw 1,245 visits. This number increased to 1,850 in 2009 and 4,817 in 2010. Last year, the pantry had a record-breaking 5,299 visits.

One local mother’s recent plea was particularly poignant.

“My daughters and I donate to the food pantry each year. This year, my hours were cut. I now rely on the Salvation Army to feed my kids.”

Beyond housing the largest food bank in the region, Vail Valley Salvation Army meets the emergency needs of individuals and families in Eagle County. As part of our Emergency Financial Assistance Program, we address medical and prescription needs, provide gasoline vouchers, coordinate transportation, and help families and individuals in jeopardy of losing their homes stay put through rent and utility assistance.

We identify the types of local jobs, as well as the recent recession, as the primary reason for our increased popularity. Many know that Eagle County’s economy, based on tourism and construction schedules, is seasonal. This means those workers often receive little to no unemployment or health benefits, live on low wages and struggle to find affordable housing. What many might not realize is the increased strain the Salvation Army feels to serve this growing population while operating on limited funding.

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Vail Resorts Echo sponsored a food drive last Saturday outside the Vail and Avon City Market stores. VR Echo matched every pound of food donated by the community, up to $1,000. In total, VR Echo donated a truckload to the Salvation Army.

The Vail Valley Salvation Army is grateful to Vail Resorts Echo for annually sponsoring our “Fill the Vans” food drives through Colorado Mountain Express; filling holiday food baskets; and contributing to our “Empty Bowls” event.

Tsu Wolin-Brown is director and community caseworker for the Vail Valley Salvation Army. Through Vail Resorts Echo, Vail Resorts hopes to connect its communities to its efforts – from on the ground conservation programs to grants for local schools. Aimed at both protecting the natural resources that surround the resorts and helping build stronger communities where its employees live and work, Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: environmental stewardship, charitable giving and community engagement. Learn more at http://www.vailresortsecho.com.